Backlit Lesser Flamingo
Backlit Lesser Flamingo. Lesser Flamingo backlit by soft early morning sunshine. Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India.
The Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) is one of the largest breeding grounds for Lesser Flamingos in India. LRK is a unique habitat comprising of saline desert plains, thorny scrubland, arid grasslands, wetlands and marshes.
Backlit Lesser Flamingo – About the Lesser Flamingo:
The lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor) is a species of flamingo occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and northwestern India.
They are the smallest species of flamingo, standing at 80-90cm tall and weighing between 1.2 and 2.7 kg. Aside from size, the clearest difference between this species and the greater flamingo is the much more extensive black on the bill.
The species breeds on large alkaline and saline lakes, salt pans and coastal lagoons. Like all flamingos, they lay a single white egg on a mound built out of mud.
Lesser Flamingoes feed primarily on algae which grows only in shallow saline lakes. Although blue-green in colour, the algae contains the photosynthetic pigments that give the birds their pink colour.
Flamingos have a distinctive downward-curved bill which filters food of various sizes using complex rows of hair-like structures called lamellae. The Lesser Flamingo has such a dense filter that it can sift out single-celled plants less than two-hundredths of an inch in diameter.
Despite being the worlds most numerous species of flamingo, lesser flamingoes are classified as near threatened due to their rapidly declining population and the low number of breeding sites. In India their largest breeding grounds in LRK are under threat due to encroachment from salt panning activities and the dumping of excess freshwater diverted from the ‘Sardar Sarovar Dam’. Millions of litres of freshwater are dumped year on year, gradually affecting the salinity of the habitat. This change will be devastating for species like Lesser Flamingoes who depend on saline water for food.
You can find out more about Lesser Flamingoes here.
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